It’s been about a month since the Dallas Cowboys kicked off their voluntary offseason conditioning program, and there’s still been no sign of backup quarterback Kyle Orton--now the team is beginning to sound a little less optimistic about his return.
Head coach Jason Garrett has long asserted that he fully expects Orton to return for the mandatory mini-camp in June, but asked about the backup this week, Garrett said simply, “You’ll have to ask him that.”
If Orton opts to retire, it’ll come as a sign that he really, really didn’t want to play football anymore--because, it’ll mean he owes the Cowboys $3 million of the $5 million signing bonus he got when he joined the team in 2011. If he doesn’t show up for the aforementioned mandatory mini-camp in June, he’ll be hit with a $70,000 fine.
As Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas points out, there’s a chance Orton could come to the mandatory mini-camp with no intention of making the team, in order to avoid the fine. Then, if he is cut, he won’t have to repay the signing bonus.
For now, the Cowboys are holding onto a bit of optimism--but in the event that Orton walks away from the game, they're ready to move forward with Brandon Weeden as the No. 2 quarterback.
“We’re still hopeful that Kyle will be here,” said quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson, “but if he doesn’t, we feel really good about Brandon, especially since he’s going through our off-season program.”
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